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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

They call her Natasha when she looks like Elsie

Rest In Peace Kevin Ayers .
the gentle author & Yoko in the gardens across the road from St Pauls Cathedral:1971

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Willesden To Cricklewood

This post is a personal homage to London. {Forgive my indulgance this week} .....London was a City I lived & worked in twice.For a total of 4 years
The first time was for a year in 1971.Working in a Youth Hostel in The City Area.Very posh.Very Hippy.Very'International'(for want of a better word).I learned about Sex & Drugs.After a year, I moved back to Northern England  again.I had no educational qualifications in 1971.But it was at this time in London I met the sort of people I had never met before.So called clever kids from Private Education/Public Skools like Eton doncha know!
.I realised they were no better than me.(some were even  "AsThick As 2 Short Planks"!)I realised i was as good as them.So back in Halifax in 1972 ,I took 5 O Levels & 2 A Levels (in one year!).Hat-tip to Percival Whitley College ,Halifax...... then I
 moved onto  to a teacher training college in Liverpool for 4 years.After graduating I took a teaching job back in London.(This time in The East End.1977-1981 ).I was a bit innocent i suppose.I imagined I would pick up where I left off in 1971.But a few years is a long time in the life of a city .It was not how I imagined.Totally different (as I was too) a much more deprived area.But I loved it again (albeit in a different way.....).but I did learn even more about sex & drugs& Rock N Roll.....! Ah, Dear Sweet Broken Strong Newham,East London

From my own collection:the young hippy gentle author avec Yoko  in 1971 pretending to jump off the roof of St Paul's Cathedral Choirboys School  .As you will guess, I never really got the hang of the "roof jumping-off business"......
*Type in "John Hendy Photographs" in Google* &  you will find some amazing sepia-friendly images.....(704 in total)
I don't think these photos are widely known about (yet). Lots & lots of amateur photographs taken by John Hendy in  Chelsea between 1968-1975 .Crowd scenes, mostly unknown to  the subjects.
 How sad am I? ! Immediately after I found this site, i skipped straight  to "1971" on the million-to-one chance that i could find a photo of the hippy gentle author in the crowd (I was working down there that year). I love the crowd scenes&groupings.Like ghosts performing a ballet.............
King's Road, London
August 1970
I love the voyeurism of it all. Today some will be dead:others certainly older.Shopping till they drop!All totally unaware that you are about to look at them (although ,they have the last laugh.You & I will never know who they are or what they were doing on that day....)
I wonder.Could we take such photos today & get the same reaction (or lack of)?Oblivious to the camera.Something tells me not.Cameras were much less obvious in random public places then.These ghosts are incredibly innocent. No CCTV,no mobile camera-phones.......people were less sensitive to having their image stolen...... .are we  more self-conscious in public today?
Apart from the fashion,I am surprised how modern these faces appear. Because they are not self conscious of the camerman....and so do not put any poses .Well.... they do, but for their fellow shopper;not for us.
My fellow Sepians! A question for you! Maybe its the very formality,purpose,and intent of old photos that usually ages them?
I like to look at these people. Alone/. separate/.without pretense......'Must be how they look asleep .
.Just imagine you are the photographer here.....and instead of being incognito  you shouted "LOOK" out  loud before you took the picture! Imagine the changes that would have come over their faces & body language. The contortions and artifice (especially among this lot of ,mostly, posh West Londoners )
Its a thought for any photographer of people. When the subject knows they are about to be shot,you end up with what they want you to see rather than themselves.......

"These photos were taken during visits that my dad made to King's Road in Chelsea each summer from the late 60s to the mid 70s, where he simply photographed the people on one of the more trendy streets in London. To me, the photos are a really interesting record of how the fashions of the time evolved - particularly as they feature ordinary people on the street, whereas most of the images we see of that time relate to how celebrities looked..........." Simon Hendy.

King's Road, London
July 1969
























This has been a Sepia Saturday post.The theme is "Unknown" People.

Elvis Costello - (I Dont Want To Go To) Chelsea

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* i am always getting into trouble for posting copyright images on this blog.I anticipate getting into "trouble" again.But,as i have mentioned before on this blog,who has the moral right to own an image? For example who "owns" these  photographs?Especially as the people in them were never asked their "permission" in the first place . I pose the question yet  do not have the answer but, crucially,neither does anybody else..... I genuinely wish to champion and bring to a wider audience John Hendy's fine photographs.  
 *

check here for an interesting overview of the technical:moral:legal aspects of US street photography.Sadly,the UK is much more illiberal these days.... it is very possible in the UK to get stopped/arrested by the Police for taking a photo in public. .
see a video of Police falsely arresting an  Amateur Photographer under duress in UK 
(n.b. For My back pages you can read an old post of mine that was snappily titled : how I lost my innocence & virginity on the roof of St.Paul's Cathedral Choirboys School.....)

They Just Do Not Make Blogpost Titles Like That Anymore ............
the young hippy gentle author (avec Yoko) on The Mall moments after seeing Emperor Hirohito's parade on his way to see the Queen during his state visit in 1971.

29 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i dig all the colorful outfits on chelsea road...and interesting thoughts on the ownership of images...crazy thought at being arrested for taking a picture...

barbara and nancy said...

Such great and nostalgic photos of that period. The fashions were so much better in those days. So much more interesting. I'm emailing you an interesting article that reminds me of your post.
Nancy

tony said...

Cheers Nancy!

Kristin said...

The guy next to you in the last photo looks like he has one of those rubber faces on but I guess that is his real face.

Brett Payne said...

Thos chaps striding down the King's Road in July certainly weren't ordinary ... influenced by Sgt Pepper, I guess.

Postcardy said...

The photos make me feel like I am there as part of the scene.

Martin said...

I call on you regularly, Tony, but often forget to knock. I admire your stance on the ownership of an image. It really is a philosophical issue that has developed a legal sting. Thanks for sharing the photos.

Tina´s PicStory said...

beautiful bw-pics :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

These are great, Tony! I especially like #4, where the young people across the street are staring at the people with the colorful outfits. Those were the days.

Awesome post,

Kathy M.

Jill Hodgson said...

Great photos of you and Miss Y!
I remember hitching to free festivals in the '70s dressed in full length patchwork velvet regalia in the company of wizards and jesters. We got lifts too! No-one ever bothered to record it. Shame though. You're right, it is like observing ghosts compared to the self conscious, self-branding, popularity fest of today.
Glad we wised up about that "hope I die before I get old" line though!

Hazel Ceej said...

It was nice to see how London looked around the time I was born. That lady with the J bag looks like one of Prince Ranier's daughters, the one with cancer, only shorter. Yoko Ono - so strange to see her now with that short hair of hers.

Bob Scotney said...

A fascinating group of photos Tony, from a place we never saw but only read about. These pictures make it come alive.

Kathy Hart said...

I feel like I could just jump into one of the photos - that's how REAL they are - that takes artistry. Thanks!

Wendy said...

I enjoyed this stroll down Kings Rd. and Memory Lane.

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Absolutely transporting. I love the music! You resurrected London in the 70's.

Mike Burnett said...

Trouble is, I remember those years, and the King's Road (occasionally) - the clothes are embarrassing, but weren't we slim

tony said...

from 28 inches (then) to 38 (now!) Hey-Hoy!:)

Lovely's Blot said...

Wonderful nostalgic pictures Tony. I worked in East and West London in the 1980s and 1990s and it certainly never seemed that interesting then!

Kathy Morales said...

Enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I had a purse with long fringe, maxis and minis... I got a question this week from one of my English as a Second (or other) Language students this week and it was one my son had asked me when he was a kid. Having read the word "hobo", they both asked if it meant the same as "hippie". Generational thing, I guess - they had no experience to relate to either.

Joy said...

An enjoyable trip back to 1971 and the days of rolls of film. I think you can still take photographs like that but you may have someone taking one back:-) I like your last photo in the aftermath of Hirohito and the crowd scattering.

Little Nell said...

Wonderful and enjoyable post Tony. Good luck with staying out of trouble re copyright - it's a tricky question isn't it?I like the picture of you with the determined looking man hurrying past.

whowerethey said...

There are places here in America where you must request a permit to take photographs. They are generally "tourist spots" or the like, such as the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. They would probably be overrun with photographers if they didn't clamp down on it. However I can't imagine the police here arresting someone for taking a photo - e.g. paparazzi going crazy on a daily basis.

Tattered and Lost said...

The photos are wonderful. Perfect chronicle of the time. I look at them and feel as if I'm looking back to the San Francisco of my college days. Certain "hubs" are timeless.

Stunned that taking photos could get you arrested. However, I do feel the snapping of photos has gotten out of hand because of how they are quickly uploaded to the net. While sitting next to a drunk on a flight he kept trying to take my photo with his camera phone. I was ready to deck him. He felt it was his right to take my photo and do what he wanted with it.

Alan Burnett said...

A hugely satisfying Sunday morning of a post full of wonderful images of the 70s and 80s, a fine commentary and good sense. As for the new repression with regard to taking photos in public, it would seem to only apply to people with "proper" cameras rather than things like mobile phones. I was asked to leave the White rose Centre near Leeds recently for daring to take a photograph with a camera (it could have been used by terrorists seemingly) whilst people were taking pictures and video with smartphones all around me.

tony said...

"Leeds Police Lead Alan Burnett Away From White Rose Centre With Blanket Over His Head"...Now THAT would be a photography opportunity!
It all gets a bit silly.For example,in one of the links in my post it is mentioned that some US Companies try to claim copyright on the buildings they own that are (outside) in view of the camera.as to UK this video gives a little overview of The State We Are In.

Mike Brubaker said...

My time in London was during the next decade but it still had that same vibrant quality. I was always too self conscious about pointing a camera at people and many of the colorful characters in Chelsea expected to be paid for having their picture taken.

In my first week there, whilst walking by Buckingham Palace I was stopped by a man who asked if he could take my photo. Being the naive young tourist wearing my holiday adventure hat, I thought he just wanted a fashionable person in the picture. When he demanded that I pay him for a photograph, I was so startled that I talked him down from £10 to £5. I never got the photo of course, and I also never wore that hat again!

That photo is probably up on someone's blog now.

TICKLEBEAR said...

How would you react if you found yourself in a picture of someone you don't even know?! People are a paradox these days, claiming ownership of their image, and yet, more than willing to display it on the web, seen in their daily life for all to see.

I remember those times, this being my youth, when the hippy thing was quite big in Montreal. People seemed happy, but we know the reality was a little crueler than that. But things certainly changed around here as ideas culminated into many actions, changing the face of your society.
:)~
HUGZ

PS: try claiming "fair use"...
;)~

tony said...

(in a facebook message from Dominic)
"I keep to comment on your blog only to find there's no comment link to click on. Just thought I'd let you know. What you said about London was interesting as I spent 8 years of my life living there (I left in 1985). I think I always look back on that time through rose-tinted spectacles. I still have friends there and often casually think of going back. It was reassuring to read that it wasn't as you remember it when you returned."

Joanne Casey said...

Great images Tony. I wish I had been around in the late 60's, I would have made a good hippy (not just for the smell) :)